Local Chaos Reviews
Cats & Jammers
Cats and Jammers with their release, Hurray for Everything. Its thirteen tracks are mostly chucked with that new-wave-pop, simple, upbeat, feel-good kind of sound. It usually manages to steer clear of the annoyance that accompanies that happy-go-hippie genre, but not entirely. The first time I listened to this disc, I thought it was pure bunk, but I' ll admit, a forth and fifth listen made a few tunes grow on me.
|"What happened while we were gone?" Charles Gladfelter, lead singer of Dovetail Joint remembered asking himself upon returning to 1300 wild fans at the House of Blues. Working on mixing their new record in Los Angeles, the band had just been gone for three weeks when they got their reintroduction to Chicago. Radio station Q101 had gotten a hold of Dovetail Joint's demo tape that was recorded last January, started spinning "Level on the Inside," and to the band's surprise, they returned to a sold-out and hyped-up audience. It was then that things started picking up speed for the local band and with one listen to their music you' ll be convinced that nothing is going to get in their way.|
Dovetail Joint was officially born in 1994 when Gladfelter and drummer Joe Dapier, who had known each other since sixth grade and played together since 1984, hooked up with guitarist Robert Byrne. John Kooker, the band's bassist, was a later addition in 1997. Their local roots lie in Willamette and Downer's Grove. The band members, all 26 or 27 years old, recorded their first demo in Minneapolis with their producer, John Fields. Dovetail Joint was simultaneously recording both the EP and the LP before even signing a record deal. Referring to their manager to whom the members attribute much success, Gladfelter commented, "We found our guy, we knew what we wanted to do, and we just went out there and rocked it out."
While they admit that their title was lifted from "Revolution" by the Beatles, their music is divinely original. " I write the songs, but the band really puts it together,"said Gladfelter. "I' ll come to Joe with an idea and Joe and I can hash it out and make it work. Then we'll bring Robert in and he adds all of this embellishment that makes it interesting to listen to." Poking fun at the categories that reviewers have tried to term their sound as, they don' t try to make up any fancy description.. "Rock. It's that easy," said Byrne. "That's really all it is," continued Gladfelter, adding, "I think that it would work in a lot of formats."
Perhaps Dovetail Joint's versatility branches from their ranging influences. Gladfelter said that some of his all-time favorite bands are the Rolling Stones, the Police, and of course, the Beatles. "It was mainly punk rock for me," Byrne commented while noting that he listens to everything from jazz to Willie Nelson. "I started out singing with fire in a trash can on a street corner in Brooklyn,\rdblquote joked Kooker before saying that it really all started with his parents' 1950's stuf--true R&B. Dapier simply named the CD' s in his stereo-- a range from Jeff Buckley to the first Clash album. He attributes his original influences also to a wide spectrum: from old jazz to Led Zeppelin.
|The entire band was fun loving and down to earth. When coming to a consensus about what sets them apart from other bands, they decided on, "Joe can break-dance." It must be something more than just Joe's break-dancing. "We opened up for Third Eye Blind and people were wiggin' out when we played," said Dapier." I was like, 'What's up? We're the opener. What are you freaking out for?'" I'm predicting a lot more freaking out following the release of their LP on Tuesday of the third week in January. As hot as the EP released last August was, this CD, 001, will be absolute wildfire. While the 1995 self-titled release, (their first), got their name out and the Level EP created their popularity in Chicago, a full album has the prospective of giving Dovetail Joint national exposure and success.|
In the mean time, Dovetail Joint is touring around the mid-west including an 18 and over show November 25 at the Metro with Smoking Popes. It's sure to be a good one, especially since the band considers this venue one of their favorites d ue to its history, good sound, and high comfort level. Sunday, November 1st Dovetail Joint played as well as were interviewed live on WONC's Local Chaos show, performing "Level on the Inside", a few other tunes off of the yet-to-be-released album, and one unrecorded song. It impressed listeners with both their personality and outstanding sound. As for the future, "We want to make records for as long as we possibly can," said Gladfelter. "And not have day jobs," he smiled. They aspire to make it past t he average rock-band life span and in order to do that they know that they have to sell records. "We'll try to get the same response as we did in Chicago in the rest of the country," Gladfelter added; not a bad goal considering that they not only made the first track on Q101's Local 101 Compilation with "Level on the Inside," but it also has had a streak of hitting the station's Top 5 at 5 and was the number one requested song for two weeks straight. Don't get me wrong--Dovetail Joint is and will be far from a one-hit wonder. Without a doubt this group is well rounded giving them a depth that cannot be ignored.
Byrne said that the best thing about it all is "standing around in the airport, waiting around to fly to New York, and some woman you've never seen before in your life comes up to you and says, 'You guys make great rock,'" The cool part is that these guys are still noticing.
This week's prey is Holy Moses! Although this self-titled cd in some ways does prove the talent of the five-some, it is simply not my type of music. Holy Moses has an outdated sound, kind of like they are trying to imi tate Whitesnake or Warrent, and just not doing it up to par. This same sound carries identically through the 13 tracks; the monotony of the disc made its 59 minutes seem like an entire day. However, they did display above average complexity in their music-- you have to respect a band that manages to use more than distorted power chords for once. Still, this disc definitely was not for me, but if you still consider yourself a Bon Jovi groupie, you just might like it.
This week's victim is Kampfire Kowboys. Their album, Somewhere Blue, was near to punishment for me to listen to in its entirety. The Kampfire Kowboys are exactly that a sing along group that, if put in a format, would fit in that all too popular country western class. As you could probably guess, country music generally doesn't get along with me and, because of that, I' ll give Kampfire Kowboys the benefit of the doubt that maybe a country fan wouldn't find them quite as nauseating. However, I usually can pick out at least one good song on albums in the country format and out of the fifteen tracks on this one, each and everyone made me feel like I was trapped in some strange place where county fair beer tent collided with a church camp sing along. I' ll give this group one thing--their title is fitting. As for their music, it just wasn't for me.
Lucky Boys Confusion
"Lucky Boys Confusion describes suburban life for kids in three words," says Kaustubh Pandav, lead vocals of the band that has become a local icon. The five-some, Pandav, Adam Kirer on guitar and vocals, Ryan Fergus with percussion, lead guitarist Joe Sell, and Jason Schultejann playing bass, officially united in July of 1997. Their experiences of growing up as either an inhabitant of Naperville or Downer's Grove have molded the music that they make. "We're not trying to hide the fact that we're from the suburbs," notes Fergus. This theme darts straight from the core of Lucky Boys Confusion, not excluding their moniker. "It really suits what we're about," quote comments Pandav. "I mean, we're not trying to be too punk rock, and we\rquote re not trying to pretend we're from the ghetto. We're kids from the suburbs" The truth that LBC houses makes their music identifiable for many of their loyal listeners. The fact that this group refuses to put up a front enhances the impact that they have as a whole.
|On November 14, 1998, LBC released their first album, "Growing Out of It." The disc is 19 tracks and 70 minutes of everything that it was meant to be. Versatile in every aspect, it becomes an escort through frustration and celebration, from the personal to universal. Both musically and lyrically, "Growing Out of It" is invigorating--truly a mood lifting source due to cunning but sensible verse and a jive that can't be denied. Throughout the LP as a whole and withi n each tune individually, LBC is impressively fluent while doing an outstanding job of keeping the listener on their toes. Good transitions and strong songs from beginning to end make the album a complete work. LBC's unpredictability keeps it interesting and worth listening to in its entirety--certainly not a one-song success. Tracks include 1) Cockboy's Caddy, 2) 40/80, 3) LBC, 4) Masala, 5) King of Apathy, 6) Slow Down, 7) Arizona Stand, 8) Child\rquote s Play, 9) First Encounter With a Devil, 10) Fred Astaire , 11) What Gets Me High, 12) Gwendolyn B. Sings Sin, 13) Of Course, 14) Back Then, 15) Dumb Pop Song, 16) Keep Talking, 17) Deja Vous, and 18) One to the Right. My personal favorites are two, six, and thirteen.|
"We do have a distinct sound, but we do dabble in a lot of different genres," says Pandav. "Reggae-punk-hop," quote they term their unique music. "It's got something for everybody," Kirer says, laughing at his own generic response. Perhaps it has something for everybody but generic it is definitely not. As Pandav puts it, "Life in the suburbs isn't just nice lawns and sport utility vehicles. There's a lot more that people just don't know about." Catch these fine fellows at their website: http://www.luckyboys.com.
One CD released and on their way up, Marvel Kind is a band worth keeping an eye out for. Mini, the name of the six-track album, was released earlier this year. Each tune, unique to itself, creates a complete work of versatility, steering away from the much too frequented monotony of rock albums. In an attempt to describe the band, they could ever so slightly be compared to Scott Weiland's seasoning, a dash of Chili Peppers, a pinch of Girls Vs. Boys; but actually Naperville-grown Marvel K ind has its own taste, spicing the rock and roll casserole with a flavor of their own.
Ben Hughes, on lead vocals and guitar, paused when trying to find a term to describe their music. "It's rock and roll," he said. "They"re calling it Electro Pop," referring to magazines such as Alternative Press. "Kind of digital sounding, but we still have our rock and roll roots. I don't think that we should put restrictions on music," he added to the idea of putting bands in pop culture genres.
The disc has 6 tunes--tracks one through five are filled with a great energy. Track six, "Dysrhythmia," accomplishes its namesake in a trippy sort of way and winds things down. My personal favorite is "There Are No Accidents." In overview, this disk ranges from hard to mellow and is creative both lyrically and musically.
The five members of the band, all Napervillians when they met, are Ben Hughes on lead vocals, Ronnie Miller on drums, Dave Electro on guitar, keyboards, vocals and clarinet, Brent Rickles on bass synth, and Seth Larson on keyboards and trombone. This bunch goes way back. At a young age, Ronnie and Seth became aqua inted because they both had parents who were ministers in the Lutheran Church. Ben and Seth knew each other in junior high, and Dave and Brent started off on opposing baseball teams. They didn't actually form Marvel Kind until about a year out of Naperville Central High School and have been together for just over three years. "We're all brothers," says Hughes. "We're all very connected. Musically as well as friendship. Spiritually." As for inspiration for the band's music, Hughes credited everyday life and occurrences, struggles but good times, too. "It's all about Karma," he added. When it comes to a roll model Hughes says, "It changes everyday. There are so many good artists out there. In late October look for Marvel Kind to ignite what will be their third tour. Past shows have taken them from Chicago to all over the East Coast as well as miscellaneous states such as Denver and Arizona. Be sure to catch this one. "What's that ahead?" asks the lyrics of track five. For Marvel Kind. it's big time.